I've never read Proust - sentences that go on for pages just don't do it for me, and though I do like madeleine cakes, it's not enough to make me read the man's works. However, since I'm at sort of a impasse right now, with my brain having recently decided to coast along on neutral - no, that's a lie, it's pretty much flicked the switch to off - and still feel like posting I decided I'd pick this one up from Ian. So here goes with the Proust questionnaire.
As Ian notes: The Proust Questionnaire is a kind of classic of its sort. It has been running in Vanity Fair magazine for a number of years in which assorted notables and also-rans are asked to respond to a set of rather unique questions.
Basically, it's the granddaddy of memes. The guy would've done really well had he had a meme blog...
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Mornings, no Monday mornings, no... rainy Monday mornings.
Where would you like to live?
Arizona if Arizona had the ocean. Is there someplace civilized where the desert meets the ocean? And it's warm? And where I could spend my days on the beach sipping from glasses containing paper parasols? Oh yeah, that's a holiday.
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Not being dead
To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
Perfection. Naw. I'm lying. All those perfect people must die. So I guess, um... a tendency to serial killing sprees?
Who are your favorite characters in history?
Real history or pretend history? Character as in novel or historical figure with attitude? This is way too hard for me.
Who are your favorite heroines in real life?
All those women out there who have the wherewithal to actually make and raise children. Hats off to all of you, I sure as hell couldn't do it.
Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?
Honestly, I don't really have favourite fictional characters. I've read thousands of books and no one female character particularly stands out. Or male for that matter. I could do the stock answer and say Jane Austen's women, but meh they don't particularly stand out either. My brain can only hold on to so much information.
Your favorite painter?
I don't have just one. Marcel Duchamp, Magritte, Dali, Picasso... Impressionists bore me to death. I quite like Seurat though with his pointilism...
Your favorite musician?
Let's just toss out Miles Davis who I truly love and be done with. I'm discovering Coldplay, but they're a group, not a musician...
The quality you most admire in a man?
Humour, a healthy sense of the absurdity of it all and the ability to not take it seriously. All right, that's three. It's my meme so I'll answer how I want.
The quality you most admire in a woman?
I shall not discriminate: the same as in a man
Your favorite virtue?
You can have a favourite? I thought you could only have favourite vices. But virtues are highly overrated I think; um, let's see, how about flexibility - good in the moral sense and also great to have in the physical one. Two birds with one stone as it were. Learn all about virtue here - funny how it's inextricably tied in with religion, and as we all know, that's really not my cup of tea as it were...
And of course I had to wiki vice, 'cause I'm all for equal oportunity an' all. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I'm pretty much on my merry way to hell if I'm held up against the Christian idea of vice: blasphemy, apostasy, indifference - and I'll not even start on the seven deadly sins... oy vey!
Your favorite occupation?
Reading and that other one, probably considered a vice *sigh*...
Who would you have liked to be?
Other than myself? Isis
Your most marked characteristic
Character-wise, my cynicism. Physically, my ass.
The quality you most like in a man?
Didn't I just answer that?
The quality you most like in a woman?
See above and above that. Did Proust have memory problems?
What do you most value in your friends?
The humour again, and the ability to tolerate me.
What is your principle defect?
That makes me sound like a machine. Shouldn't it read fault? How about my pickiness regarding the proper usage of words? Oh, and by the way, that should read princiPAL - so maybe also my anal attitude towards spelling and grammatical errors.
What is your favorite occupation?
Again! Proust really should have proofed these questions...
What is your dream of happiness?
I try not to dream. Much better to live in the here and now and find happiness there. What's the point of dreaming about happiness when you can find it around you if you're willing.
What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
Losing my sight. Then I'd have to learn braille (dunno how well I'd do at that - and I don't think they've perfected the braille blog yet), though on the plus side, I wouldn't be lying when I tell people trying to sell me newspaper subscriptions over the phone that I'm blind.
What would you like to be?
How is this different from the question in part one except that it's not in the past tense? Oh, oops, this time it's "what". OK. A chair that gets sat on by guys with beautiful butts. The women can sit on the floor. Or a tree - one that lives to a ripe old age without being cut down. Must be amazing to watch how things change (or don't) over a hundred years.
In what country would you like to live?
The US I guess, since I'd love to live in AZ.
What is your favorite color?
What is your favorite flower?
Anthurium - yeah, the penis flower
What is your favorite bird?
The oh so ordinary chickadee; they're just so damn cute
Who are your favorite prose writers?
Robertson Davies, Tolkien, Carol Shields, Cormac McCarthy... and eve so many others.
Who are your favorite poets?
Don't have any. I'm not big into poetry. Except maybe Marjorie Weber. Here are a couple of her poems. Obviously we're not talking e.e. cummings.
Everyone talks about things.
What are things?
Things are flowers, bees
And birds in the trees.
Those are things.
Along with jewels
Trinkets and ting-a-lings
Blues, greens and colors
These are things.
I could go on and on
You may of guessed
Almost anything can be a thing!
There once was a frog
He had a friend who
Was known as Lloyd
Boyd and Lloyd
Met with no good end
When Boyd and Floyd
Found out that Lloyd
Was no friend!
Who are your favorite composers?
The usual, Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, not very original I know...
Who are your favorite painters?
Proust is fucking with my head again.
Who are your heroes in real life?
Who are your favorite heroines of history?
What are your favorite names?
I quite like his name: Siddig El Tahir El Fadil El Siddig El Abderahman El Mohammed Ahmed El Abdel Karim El Mahdi and his is interesting to say the least: James Dr No From Russia with Love Goldfinger Thunderball You Only Live Twice On Her Majesty's Secret Service Diamonds Are Forever Live and Let Die The Man with the Golden Gun The Spy Who Loved Me Moonraker For Your Eyes Only Octopussy A View to a Kill The Living Daylights Licence to Kill Golden Eye Tomorrow Never Dies The World Is Not Enough Die Another Day Casino Royale Bond. David Fearn, 23, from Walsall, who changed his name to the names of every James Bond movie at the time in order to celebrate the release of the latest Bond film
What is it you most dislike?
What historical figures do you most despise?
The guy who decided that Brussel sprouts should be eaten.
What event in military history do you most admire?
Meh, not big on the whole battle thing.
What reform do you most admire?
You're kidding, right?
What natural gift would you most like to possess?
The ability to draw.
How would you like to die?
Quickly and spectacularly
What is your present state of mind?
Baffled as to why I'm doing this.
What is your motto?
If you understand, things are as they are. If you don't understand, things are as they are. (Someone obviously way Zen-er than I said that)
Alternately: Proust was obviously insane.
Damn that was long... anyone willing to try it (or any version of it), let me know and I'll be sure to go check your answers.